Open main menu

Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/284

This page needs to be proofread.


I

276 Southern Historical Society Papers.

field much earlier than would have been the case under ordinary circumstances.

The battery was sent first to Camp Lee for instruction, and in an incredibly short time had become so proficient in drill and field movements as to be ordered to the front. It saw its first service in the fields around Fredericksburg, being- attached to a South Carolina brigade of infantry under Brigadier-General Maxey Gregg, where the bugles almost daily sounded an alarm, with the harnessing and and hitching of horses and a gallop down the Telegraph or Cathar- pin road, with cannoneers mounted; but no enemy to be found, was the usual result. The men became so accustomed to these alarms that they began to enjoy them, and they in no small degree pre- ferred them to the long, tedious, and bloody campaign they were soon to enter upon.

In the mean time McClellan had landed his hosts on the Penin- sula, Williamsburg had been fought, and his army was soon thun- dering at the gates, of Richmond. Lee had concentrated his army in front of him, and the Crenshaw Battery was ordered to take posi- tion on the left of the line, and was soon to receive its baptism of fire in one of the most hotly-contested and hardest-fought battles of the war.

The Battery, with Gregg's Brigade, moved to about six miles north of Richmond, where the Light Division was formed under Major-General A. P. Hill, the Brigade and Battery being a part of it. Remained in this vicinity and at Friend's farm on the Chicka- hominy river, where the battery was engaged in several artillery duels with Federal batteries, one specially severe on the 2oth of June, 1862, where several horses were killed and wounded, but for- tunately no men were hurt.

On the 26th day of June, 1862, the Light Division, with this and other batteries, crossed the Chickahominy swamp and made an at- tack on the Federals at Mechanicsville, with the Purcell Battery in front, the Crenshaw Battery being immediately in the rear, where they were exposed to a very heavy fire, without the satisfaction of replying.

The Light Division continued the advance the next morning with the battery in the same position. In the mean time our forces in front had flanked the fortifications of the enemy, and forced them to evacuate and beat a hasty retreat. The Crenshaw Battery was hur- ried to the front to take part in the attack on Games' Mill; it went into battery in an open field just in rear of the Gaines house, where